The Honorable Douglas N. Frazier

United States Magistrate Judge

Ft. Myers Division
TEL: 239-461-2120
FAX: 239-461-2129


Appointed: January 8, 2000. University of Mississippi, J.D. 1979. United States Naval Academy, B.A. 1972. A.U.S.A., Middle District of Florida, Eastern District of Louisiana; Senior Litigation Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice; Interim U.S. Attorney, District of Nevada, Middle District of Florida; Acting Associate Deputy Attorney General, Department of Justice; Assistant Director for Evaluation and Review, Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. Colonel, Marine Corps Reserve serving as Deputy Director for Reserve Affairs, Judge Advocate Division, Headquarters Marine Corps.

Chambers Staff:

  Corey A. Smith
Law Clerk
Beth R. Heise
Law Clerk
Bette-Jo Herren
Courtroom Deputy
(scheduling and criminal matters)

Case & Trial Management Preferences:

Counsel with either jury or bench cases set for trial are to comply with the following procedures:

Trial Date:
All trial settings are for a date certain, therefore, the date is firm. Motions for continuance are discouraged.

Pre-trial Submissions:
At least ten business days before trial, unless otherwise directed by the court, parties should file the following with the Clerk with a courtesy copy for chambers:

A joint statement of uncontested facts. Counsel should attempt to resolve all differences involving only choice of language and to separate out all portions not in dispute in order to minimize the areas of disagreement.

  • In jury cases, a brief discussing the issues to be tried, proposed voir dire questions, proposed jury charges and a verdict form. The parties shall meet, confer, prepare and file ONE set of JOINT proposed jury instructions and a verdict form. Requests for jury instructions shall be plainly marked with the name and number of the case, shall designate the party submitting the same if the parties cannot agree on the content of an instruction, and shall be numbered in the sequence with the party objecting to any instruction including in sequence an interlineated form of the instruction or a different version with an explanation of the difference and citations of supporting authority.

    The Court prefers the use of the Eleventh Circuit Pattern Jury Instructions. The parties are to provide their proposed jury charges and proposed verdict form on a disk in WordPerfect format when possible.

  • In non-jury cases, a pre-trial brief encompassing proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, and a brief summary of the salient portions of each deposition to be offered in evidence. Counter-summaries of opposing counsel may be filed at any time up to the end of the trial or at the time of filing post-trial briefs, if any. The summaries and counter-summaries will supplant the reading of depositions at the trial.

Exhibits and Witness Lists:
THESE ARE SEPARATE FROM THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE PRETRIAL STIPULATION. Counsel must stipulate to the foundation for all exhibits whose authenticity is not questioned. Trial time will not be wasted on unnecessary foundation testimony. All exhibits must be pre-marked in the order in which they are expected to be used (as per the attached exhibit marking instructions). Prior to trial, a complete set of the documentary exhibits and a complete list of the names and addresses of witnesses should be furnished to counsel for each opposing party who will be represented at trial.

On the first day of trial, one set of exhibits shall be bound (binder fashion) and numbered or lettered (tabs)for the Judge, the witness, and the Courtroom Deputy. Also three copies of the witness list, and three copies of the exhibit list shall be supplied to the Courtroom Deputy. You must also provide the exhibits to your opposing counsel in a manner that is acceptable to both sides. Any questions regarding same should be asked a week in advance of the trial.

Sidebar Conferences:

Sidebar conferences will be kept to a minimum. This court agrees with Standard 9.9 of the standard suggested by the American Bar Association Advisory Committee on the Judge’s Function (1972):

The trial judge should be alert to the distracting effect on the jury during the taking of evidence of frequent bench conferences between counsel and the judge out of the hearing of the jury, and should postpone the requested conference to the next recess except when an immediate conference appears necessary to avoid prejudice.

Procedure During Trial:

  • Please be on time for each court session. If you have matters in other courtrooms, arrange in advance to have them continued or have an associate handle them for you.
  • Please stand whenever you address the court. This includes the making of objections. (Counsel with physical disabilities will be excused from this requirement.)
  • Stand a respectful distance from the jury at all times.
  • In your opening statement to the jury, do not argue the case and do not discuss law. Confine yourself to a concise summary of the important facts. Do not describe in detail what particular witnesses will say. Unless the case is unusually complex, each party will be limited to 10 minutes.
  • Please stand when you question witnesses. (Counsel with physical disabilities will be excused from this requirement.) Do not pace about the courtroom when questioning witnesses - this distracts the jury and wastes time.
  • If you intend to question a witness about a group of documents, avoid delay by having all the documents with you when you start the examination.
  • When you object, make your objection short and to the point. Do not argue the objection in the presence of the jury, and do not argue with the ruling of the court in the presence of the jury. Such matters may be raised at the first recess.
  • Do not face or otherwise appear to address yourself to jurors when questioning a witness.
  • The jury should hear instructions on the law of the case from the court, an impartial source. In your final arguments, you may tell the jury what you believe the substance of the court’s instruction on a particular subject will be, but do not read or quote any instruction.
  • The court may impose sanctions on either or both parties for failure to comply with these directives.